This week marks the 77th anniversary of signing of the "Servicemen's Readjustment Act” - better known as the G.I. Bill.
President Roosevelt signed the bill on June 22nd, 1944 -- just over two weeks after D-Day.
“The thought was that service members were going to return home. And when they returned home, what will they return to?” said Charmain Bogue, the education executive director for the Department of Veterans Affairs. “They would need to integrate back in civilian life and be able take care of their families.”
And now, for nearly eight decades, programs flowing from the G.I. Bill have provided a wide range of benefits - first, to those veterans coming home from World War II, and eventually any U.S. military veteran.
More than $400-billion has been distributed to more than 25-million people since the original bill went into effect, and the Department of Veterans Affairs continues to help with education costs, vocational training and low-cost home loans - with more new programs coming in the future.
The pandemic brought an entirely new challenge in the year 2020.
“We saw that there were major impacts across this nation when it came to individuals trying to continue to pursue their educational goals,” Bogue said. “So we worked with several advocacy groups as well as congressional members in order to protect those students, and protect their benefits.”
One of those program is called the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program or VRRAP. It covers the cost of job training and gives eligible veterans who lost their job access to employment re-education to qualify for high-demand occupations in health care, education, media, engineering and high-tech fields.
VRRAP was part of the most recent pandemic stimulus package – the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
For more information, visit www.benefits.va.gov/gibill